Protest Over New Party Ban

“I am very much disappointed because I told them that I have voters who voted for me and I believe that I have a right to be in there representing my voters."
20 Mar 2021 15:18
Protest Over New Party Ban
SODELPA MP Salote Radrodro. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Member of Parliament Salote Radrodro was yesterday barred from SODELPA’s Management Board meeting as an observer.

She said she had lost hope with the board members.

“Previously in my first term in parliament with members of the SODELPA party who are not members of the management board we were still welcome to attend the meeting, we can sit and listen, but no speaking or voting rights,” Ms Radrodro said.

“But with the new management, even I as a Member of Parliament am not even allowed to go inside.

“I am very much disappointed because I told them that I have voters who voted for me and I believe that I have a right to be in there representing my voters.

“I came and I asked, and they said I was not allowed in.

“I told them that I am an elected Member of Parliament and I have voters behind me and I want to go inside.

“It is just the new management which decided to not allow us in,” she said.

Party leader Viliame Gavoka said Mrs Radrodro was not a Management Board member.

“Salote Radrodro is a member of the working committee,’ Mr Gavoka said.

“The Management Board is the highest body in SODELPA.

“If you notice, we’ve chosen some very secure locations where we control the movements of people and that is one of the reasons why we only allow the board members to be in the room.

“In the past the meetings, were usually very open and we found that it complicated matters on people working in other rooms.

“This is well-contained; only those who are members are allowed into the room.”

Mr Gavoka said investigations continued about people who were copied in an email sent by Mataiasi Lomaloma, the chief campaigner for Sitiveni Rabuka’s proposed political party.

Fiji Sun has confirmed from the acting general secretary Lenaitasi Duru that five management board members have been told to ‘step aside’ from attending the management board meetings.

They are Adi Litia Qionibaravi, Ratu Tevita Komaisavai, Gilbert Vakalalabure, Saliceni Raiwalui and Mocelutu Mataitini.

Adi Litia was the lone member who came for the meeting yesterday at the Southern Cross Hotel in Suva.

Mr Gavoka said: “There is a panel of a former magistrate, a former commissioner of Police who are carrying out the investigation.

“We wanted it to be in the hands of professionals. It is a sensitive matter and we also want to protect our people. We want to make sure that the process is in the hands of highly qualified people.

“The process that we are observing is fair. It is the law that you cannot be playing both sides; you cannot be serving two masters.

“We must protect the party because that law says that the person can be implicated, and likewise, the party if it knowingly allows the person to be part of the party.

“We had to take precautions as I have said that the president is very firm in this and it is for the good of the party.

“Those that were not allowed to attend the meeting are those who are under investigation with that email that came out suggesting that they were working for the formation of the proposed party.”

Step aside, not banned

Mr Duru said that while our earlier reports had labelled the members from entering the SODELPA meetings as ‘banned’ he said he preferred it to be termed ‘step aside’.

“We must make sure that they clear their names first, before they can sit again for any of the Management Board meetings,” Mr Duru said.

“The next Management board meeting will be held on April 9 where two agenda items will be discussed, and they are the appointment of the general secretary and the investigators’ submission on their findings/report on the five board members.”

The investigating panel consists of a former Commissioner of Police, former magistrate, while the third withdrew, he added.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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